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Unique Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Restaurant Analytics:
4 Ways to Use Customer Data

In the age of technology, companies like Facebook and Google harvest user information in exchange for billions of dollars. It’s been in the news and you couldn’t have missed it. Customer information has never been this widely available to the public. E-commerce and online companies have been taking advantage of this, but how can a local brick and mortar restaurant utilize this information?

Data doesn’t mean an app from a company in Silicon Valley stealing your information. The simple definition of data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. For your restaurant, this can be as simple as the number of guests you served today. I can also be as advanced as which server at your restaurant is driving the most revenue on Wednesdays.

According to the National Restaurant Association there are over one million restaurant locations in the United States. This demonstrates how important it is to stay afloat in the ocean of restaurant choices that are available. You can use the data that you collect from the various restaurant technology to make every day decisions. This is called data driven decision making, or DDDM. This involves collecting data based on measurable goals, analyzing patterns, and utilizing them to develop strategies that benefit business overall.

The 4 ways areas we will discuss using restaurant analytics in this blog are your menu, customer relationships, operations, and marketing.

Optimize your Menu

You can use anything from your POS system to basic surveys in order to gather customer data about your menu. Within most POS systems, restaurants can look into sales categories like burgers or drinks to determine which are the most profitable for your business. Owners must look at popularity combined with profit margins. This data can help you make decisions like making a particular menu item more expensive or less expensive. This can also help determine which items should be place on your catering menu.

Another way that POS data can be utilized is making recipe tweaks to popular dishes. If you see servers adding modifiers like “add mayo” or “extra crispy” you can start to change recipes. Then you test these changes to see if it improves sales. Owners can tell chefs to keep the food on a little longer or add an extra topping that gets requests a lot. Pair this change with a marketing campaign telling your customers “that you’ve listened to them” and you have yourself an improved menu item that will sell better (disclaimer: most likely).


Increase Customer Loyalty

The key to any business is their customers. Information like name, age, gender, visit behavior, purchasing behavior, phone number, and email address can be more valuable than ever thought. The ways of gathering this information has become easier in the age of technology from your POS system to an in-house wifi marketing system. Savvy marketers can store all of this information in what is called a customer relationship management system, or CRM.

The hypothetical example I like to give is let’s say you have a customer (John Smith) who comes in every week for ten straight weeks and orders chicken tenders every visit. All of a sudden John stops coming in for 4 weeks.  You want to send out a blast email to all customers you haven’t seen in a month, but can’t decide what to offer them. Is John likely to come back for a free order of chicken tenders, or a free hamburger? Now what about Bob Johnson who is in the same scenario but only ordered burgers during his visits? What is he more likely to come back for? With the right CRM, you wouldn’t have to choose a one-promotion-fit-all message blast. You could target each customer by their purchasing behavior.

Restaurants can utilize a CRM to personalize messages and build loyalty with your restaurant. According to Fundera, customers who participate in loyalty programs spend on average between 12% and 18% more per year than non-loyalty program members. Encourage first-time customers to return with a discounted entree, while encouraging loyal customers to try new menu items.

Improve Operation Efficiency

One of the best ways to utilize restaurant analytics is to look at sales data to assist in staff scheduling. When are your busiest hours? When are your slowest days? You can use information and data to ensure you are overpaying a staff that isn’t doing much on a slow day or hurting customer experience by being understaffed during busy hours.

Another reason to know exactly how much money you make each hour of every day is for leasing spaces. If an organization or large group asks to rent your restaurant space, you need to know exactly how much money you will be losing out on during that time period if you allow the rental. If the money the revenue for the lease exceeds the loss of regular customers, it’s uneconomical to do.

Develop Marketing Strategy

One of the biggest ways you can utilize restaurant analytics is to develop a better marketing strategy. One way is to determine which days or hours are your slowest in terms of sales, and develop ways to encourage customers to visit during those hours. This is how the happy hour came to be in the first place. Businesses should encourage customers to visit during specific hours with exclusive discounts and deals.

You are able analyze your restaurant data to look at information like what is the typical age of your customer or what percent of your guests are female. You can utilize this information to position the branding on your website and the messaging on your advertisements to reach the right customer. Advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made it a lot easier to market to your targeted demographic of choice.

We hope you enjoyed our Restaurant Analytics: 4 Ways to Use Customer Data! Check out more blogs on our site!

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